My recall may be imperfect after so many years, but I recall hearing over 60 years ago that the number of fully qualified applicants for the Class of 1964 exceeded the number of acceptance letters by about 6 or 7 to one. In those days, there was no common application or ability to copy/paste multiple submissions to many schools. Because today’s students apply, on average, to many more schools than my generation did, it doesn’t seem that the like likelihood of a given alum being accepted again has changed very much.
From my own life, and what I know of my classmates, the admissions department of yore achieved a student body of exceptional academic ability, who contributed to the education of their peers, and made a positive difference in the world. I volunteer for the Alumni Schools Committee. In that role, I have learned that I would not like to occupy a position that has to choose the ones among the nines that receive an offer of admission. My considered conclusion is that there is no non-arbitrary method of doing so. It’s always been something of a game of chance.
I attend Reunions every five years and thoroughly enjoy interacting with every group of students who support the event. They are consistently exceptional people. Nevertheless, I am saddened by the numbers of equally exceptional young people that the Schools Committee asks me to have a brief conversation with who are unable to matriculate at the Best Damn Place of All.